APPLICATION OF KNOCKDOWN
DRYWALL TEXTURE



Applying a knockdown drywall texture to your surfaces can, when done properly, hide imperfections while at the same time give the walls or ceilings a little extra durability.
Knockdown (California style or otherwise) tends to be confused with other textures including splatter and orange peel. Either of which could be used as a first step in the knock down process.

Below are techniques for applying dollops of mud to your surfaces and how to flatten those dollops using a drywall taping knife or knockdown trowel.


TOOL & MATERIALS FOR
DRYWALL SPLATTER TEXTURING



Doing a knockdown drywall texture can involve a number of different tools and materials to choose from. You will need to decide on what works best for your particular project.

  • Painters plastic
  • Painters tape (and masking tape for hanging the plastic)
  • Staple gun & staples
  • Drop cloths
  • Compressor & hopper (or electric hopper gun)
  • Drywall compound (tray & knifes)
  • Knockdown trowel
  • Soap/water (if needed)
  • Very clean (or new) 5 gallon buckets or pails
  • Heavy duty electric drill with mud mixer (paddle)
  • Old close (or coveralls), hat, gloves, & goggles
  • Paint, primer, brush, roller/cover/tray extension pole (if needed)
  • Drywall texturing compound (powdered or pre-mixed)
  • Ladders, platforms and sawhorses (as needed)

Be sure to talk to your local home improvement retailer regarding products, tools and how to advice along with checking out Amazon.com as they carry an assortment of reasonably priced tools and materials for doing a knock down texture along with a number of your other painting and decorating needs.


SETTING UP THE ROOM FOR A
KNOCKDOWN DRYWALL TEXTURE



Applying a knockdown drywall texture to your surfaces can be a very messy process. Be sure to dress appropriately along with removing as much furniture etc., from the room as possible. Items not moved need covering with drop cloths or painters plastic.

Windows, floors and doors should also be protected from splatter along with your walls if ceilings are the intended project. Dried splatter can be scraped from the walls (with a wide drywall knife) if you prefer especially if they are being painted. It can take a fair bit of effort to do so though depending on how much over-spray you have on them.

A good tip when draping your walls with plastic is to place a staple through the tape and plastic every couple feet or so as staples can help keep the plastic from falling once it gets heavy with splattered mud. With that said, remember to set the staple depth properly. Otherwise you will have large staple gun divots to fill as oppose to tiny staple holes.


SURFACE PREPARATION FOR A
KNOCKDOWN DRYWALL TEXTURE



Level, fill, and caulk all humps, holes, divots and cracks etc., to start. Also, in most cases, both walls and ceilings need priming prior to splattering. When doing so, be sure to use a primer, paint or texture compound that's recommended for it's intended purpose and the type of surface being coated.

Furthermore, techniques such as lacing can involve applying a colored primer product (like a paint and primer in one) onto your walls or ceilings first. Prior to painting though, tint the painting product using a (dark) contrasting color to that of your texture. After the paint has dried splatter your texture over the paint. By knocking the splatter down your colored paint will show through the knockdown finish.


SPLATTERING FOR KNOCKDOWN DRYWALL TEXTURE



Prior to doing a knockdown texture you will need to splatter the walls or ceilings. To do so, use this splattering page to help you get the process done.

When splattering do one wall (or section) at a time then knock it down. You want to work in intervals of 30 minutes or less other wise your mud might start setting up quicker that you would like.

Once your surfaces are splattered follow the knockdown drywall texture instructions below.


CEILINGS - KNOCKING DOWN THE SPLATTER



You can use a 6" (or wider) drywall knife to knockdown your splatter but I find that a drywall knock down trowel is the fastest and tends to do a more consistent job especially on ceilings. Use an extension pole, ladders or some type of platform as needed.

After your splatter is on and has dried a bit (wait 15 to 30 minutes or so, it will dull slightly) use your trowel (or drywall knife) and start in a corner of the room. Lightly (with not to much pressure, your just knocking down the peeks) draw your trowel (at a low angle) in a horizontal fashion (close to the wall). Work from one corner to the other opposite adjacent corner.

Keep swiping your trowel in three foot strokes (longer or shorter depending on the trowel or taping knife being used). The objective is to lightly knock your peaks down not smear the mud around.

As you swipe you will accumulate excess mud (depending on the thickness of your splatter). Use a drywall knife to remove the build up of mud that's on the trowel or the taping knife being used.

After you have done your first swath move away from the wall a couple feet and proceed to doing the next one. As you do so, and while keeping in a strait line, make sure to overlap the last swath you just did with each successive swath.

Once you have made a few horizontal passes go back over what you have knocked down and knock it down again if needed (vertical).
Surface being knocked down that are wavy (e.g between ceiling joists) may need vertical passes first followed by horizontal passes of thee trowel.

Keep vertically and horizontally knocking down your splatter along with removing excess compound from the knock down trowel until your ceiling is complete.


WALLS - KNOCKING DOWN THE SPLATTER



Just as with the ceilings I prefer to use a knock down trowel even so a 6" or wider drywall knife will work just fine.

To make your knockdown drywall texture process easier you'll want to splatter and knock down one section of wall at a time. After waiting from 15 to 30 minutes (the mud will be still somewhat wet or tacky). Start at one end of a wall and work your way toward the other side. Place the trowel (or drywall knife) at the top of your wall close to the ceiling drawing the trowel toward the floor (using a low angle on the trowel or knife) in a strait vertical pass.

Apply light, even, consistent pressure while doing so. Do not smear the mud your knocking down the peaks. Once you have done one swath move over a bit then overlapping into your last swath. After a couple of vertical swaths have been done you can gently go over what you have already knocked down horizontally.

Swipe your trowel (or knife) in three foot strokes or longer. As you swipe you will cumulate excess mud (depending on the thickness of your splatter). Use a drywall knife to remove the build up of mud that's on the trowel or taping knife.

After you have done your first swath (or strait line) move away from the wall a couple feet and proceed to doing your next one. As you do so and while keeping consistent even rows make sure to overlap the last swath you just did.

Once you have made a few horizontal passes you can then go back over what you have knocked down and knock it down again vertically. Or visa versa (e.g. work from north to south then go over top of your work from east to west) depending on how even or level your surface is.

Keep vertically and horizontally knocking down your splatter along with removing excess compound from the knock down trowel until your ceiling is complete.


KNOCK DOWN TEXTUER SUMMARY



Applying a knockdown drywall texture is easier done with the help of extra hands. Especially when moving ladders or platforms around. Furthermore, one person can splatter while the other knocks down the texture.

Once your mud is dry repair any areas you see by dolloping on mud and flattening it out with a drywall taping knife.

You can now sand away any high spots or ridges (fine to medium grit sand paper on a flat block) that where created while troweling. Scratch marks in the texture can also be carefully filled then lightly sanded level (as needed).

If your not happy with the textures look you can re-adjust your guns orifice or air pressure along with using an assortment of different techniques. Do so by re-splattering (on a dry surface) then knocking the splatter down again.

After your knocked down texture is dry (read label of the texturing compound) prime and paint it with two coats of quality paint (if needed).

No matter what type of texturing you do it's always a good idea to practice your technique on old drywall, a garage or closets prior to tackling your main project. Consistency of mud, how dry the mud is (when you knock it down), air pressure, gun adjustments (trigger depth, orifice size) and skill level can all have an effect on your finished project.

Remember to keep your knockdown trowel or taping knives clean and to use a texturing product made specifically for a knockdown drywall texture projects.


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